Book Review: How to Train Your Dragon: How to Seize a Dragon’s Jewel by Cressida Cowell

I’m working to close out all the books I read in 2017 before 2018 hits and the tenth book in the How to Train Your Dragon series, How to Train Your Dragon: How to Seize a Dragon’s Jewel (Young Adult 389 pages) by Cressida Cowell was one I actually read and finished several months ago, before my life went straight down the busy toilet.

“The dragon rebellion has begun – bringing the Vikings’ darkest hour upon them. Hiccup has become an utter Outcast, but that doesn’t stop him from seeking answers to important questions: Where is the Dragon Jewel? What happened to Fishlegs? And … when will Hiccup see his mother again?”

As usual, there is absolutely no way I can talk about the best parts of this book without massive spoilers. So if you haven’t read this book (and, to be honest, the whole series to this point) and you want to be surprised by the events in this book, I recommend you stop reading this review right now so nothing is spoiled or ruined for you.

This book starts out with Hiccup in a very bad place, bruised, beaten, starving, exhausted, and cut off from everything and everyone. He’s tracked into the forest by an amazing warrior, who just happens to be his mother. While the two don’t exactly have a dialogue, this opening scene definitely set the tone for the entire book.

While Hiccup intends on sneaking onto the prison to search for the dragon’s jewel, but because of his attached dragons, he winds up as a prisoner instead of having free reign through the area. It’s heart-wrenching to see what’s become of Hiccup’s tribe and his family and even the members of his tribe who didn’t quite see eye-to-eye with him. He even has to choose what to do about Snotlout, who is put into several very uncomfortable situations that Hiccup can actually help him with. This was a really interesting part of the story for me – here is a character who has been nothing but rotten to everyone, including and especially Hiccup, for the last nine books and he’s in a lot of trouble. Snotlout could be killed during the amber runs or he could be left behind. He could be killed by Alvin and the Witch and Hiccup had to make the choice to save Snotlout’s life, even though Snotlout had never really done anything in his entire life that would motivate someone to want to save him. Hiccup chose to save Snotlout because it was the right thing to do, which is what makes Hiccup the hero and the “good guy” for this story.

Heroes aren’t made by doing the easy thing; heroes are made by making the right choices, regardless of who is watching or what those decisions will do to the hero.

Page 343 really sums up what being a hero is like: “Alone, Hiccup had stood up against Alvin the Treacherous and the entire weight of the Tribes. Alone, he had stood up for what he believed in, for what he felt was right, even when everyone else thought he was wrong.”

Camicazi also demonstrates that sometimes, you have to learn how to be a hero. Sometimes, you have to learn how to stand up for what you believe is right and learn how to not bend to peer pressure. When she encounters Hiccup in this book, she apologizes to Hiccup for turning her back on him like everyone except Fishlegs did when Hiccup’s slave mark was revealed in the last book. And once she finds him, she refused to abandon him again, instead becoming a vocal and motivational supporter.

This entire book, especially the last half, is so full of emotion and so much happens that I do think you should read it for yourself. Overall, this book and the series continues to be a high three on my rating scale and I’m definitely glad I own this book and will definitely reread it again in the future.

Cowell, Cressida. How to Train Your Dragon: How to Seize a Dragon’s Jewel. New York: Little, Brown and Company, 2012.

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About C.A. Jacobs

Just another crazy person, masquerading as a writer.
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